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Pennsylvania Considers Violent Games Tax

| 9 Mar 2009 18:14
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Pennsylvania lawmakers recently discussed ways of combating the influence of violent games in society, and came up with some pretty radical solutions, including the idea of imposing a 5% tax on violent games.

At a committee hearing of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives focused on the topic of violent games, Representatives questioned a state Task Force on violent games about ways the state might deal with their negative influence. One solution that the lawmakers explored was the idea of enforcing a 5% tax on said games with that money going toward a program which would educate parents on the dangers of violent games.

The Task Force seemed to be fairly skeptical of this proposition, pointing out the number of legal protection issues that it would bring up. "That would have to be fairly considered, because you're not taking 5% of violent books or violent movies, but you are taking 5% [of violent videogames]," one Task Force member said.

The other bright idea the Reps had was barring or taking away state tax incentives for companies that produced or were otherwise involved in the development of violent games. The example of movies was once again brought up, with the Representative explaining that movie companies had to be held to a "higher level of scrutiny" in regards to the public benefit of their products in order to be allowed access to public money in the form of tax benefits.

Both propositions were merely that: propositions, hypotheses brought up in the course of discussion. So while you shouldn't expect any of this to go into the state lawbooks for now, it is interesting, as GamePolitics puts it, to see "how state legislative bodies struggle with the violent video game issue."

A point of controversy during the hearing was a sentence in the Task Force's report that implied that violent games are indeed beneficial on some level in terms of enhancing motor skills or problem solving.

"I strongly object to that sentence," one of the representatives made a point to declare. "The previous evidence pointed out today talking about gratuitous violence, violence against police officers, there are so many videogame options out there that encourage exploration, that might involve history or problem solving...so many positive videogames that we shouldn't say violent videogames can have positive effects."

The Task Force replied that they didn't mean to imply that those benefits were exclusive to violent games by any means. "I should think that those positive effects should be true of similar games like Guitar Hero, when it comes to motor skills," a Task Force member explained.

[Source: GamePolitics]

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